Why do you think James McBride's  The Color of Water  has been on bestseller list for so long? What makes it so good?

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scarletpimpernel's profile pic

scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I enjoyed reading The Color of Water for several reasons which contribute to its maintaining its bestseller status.  First, McBride is incredibly honest and self-reflective.  He does not try to present himself as a victim or as perfect person.  Instead, he discusses his struggles and the inner conflict he encounters as he comes to see his mother in a new light.

Secondly, McBride possesses and incredibly interesting and unusual background.  His Jewish mother's decision to marry an African-American man is not a common one, and then McBride and his siblings' relationship with their stepfather is also quite unique.  How many men buy a house for their wife and children, love their wife and children, but yet just can't live under the same roof with them?

The blending of McBride's self-awareness and his fascinating upbringing with his fluid writing style make his autobiography interesting and readable for a wide audience.

mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

For me the book The Color of Water was very good because my mother was a Jewish Holocaust survivor living in Georgia.  She had always shared with me that she had been able to relate to the black people better than white people because they had been more accepting of her.  They had experienced racism and people treating them badly and they did not treat my parents and grandparents that way.

As a book, the book has things that people like to read about, endurance, a strong willed woman, child abuse and the will to overcome it and do things differently, and not one but two good me in the story.  I liked that the book presented the black men in James' life so positively.  His two fathers must have been very special people as well as his tough mom.

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